Rosthern, SK | Grades 10 - 12 | Shortlist
RJC has a strong and vibrant alumni community. There are events planned throughout the year to bring alumni back onto campus to not just watch current students participate and perform but to participate in themselves from annual soccer, volleyball, basketball and hockey tournaments to a celebratory Homecoming event held every year for alumni and community parents and friends. Annually the school celebrates decade graduation year reunions and hosts a year end musical drama for alumni, community, parents and friends to come and watch. The alumni also financially supports projects at the school for the current student body ensuring their experience at the school is as significant as theirs was. There are friendship bonds that form during the school years for students that continue to thrive many years after graduation.
Once you are connected with RJC, you have this pride to belong in this loving community. We all know how RJC is a life-changing experience, and many alumni keep on coming back, giving back, and supporting this school. RJC noticed me, RJC recognized me. They gave us room to shine and show the talents we have hidden away, whether we were told not to show, or didn't have enough room for us to show in a bigger school. RJC gave me the life-changing opportunity to shine. The teachers and staff are so caring and loving, that they became my second family. I have always loved visiting RJC since I graduated because this will always be my second home for me. There are so many alumnus that went on and did great things, lots would come back and share with RJC, whether its their knowledge, their financial support, coming back to be on the board or one of the teacher/ staff at RJC, because this has been a family in many people's heart.
Rosthern embraces RJC and RJC gives back to the community to show their gratitude for the support. The community fills the gymnasium for the choir's concerts, school banquets and sporting events. There are members of the community who also billet students through the year. The parents of the local or day students are very welcoming to us parents that are new to the community. They extend a handshake or a hug to introduce themselves. When I entered the community of Rosthern, I knew that our son would be taken care of by the community, not just the school staff. Rostern is a self-sustaining community. It has a grocery store, restaurants, pharmacies, hospital, and medical clinic. It is conveniently located half way between two larger Saskatchewan cities - Prince Albert and Saskatoon.
The RJC community is like none other. Meeting people at events and discovering they are alumni as well is incredible. It's like, though you graduated 10 years apart, you went to school together. Alumni frequently attend events such as the alumni sports weekend, musicals, concerts, and it becomes much like a family reunion. The RJC community is very tight knit and welcoming. Parents are welcome to be involved in the life of the school and we as students get to know the parents quite well. Most of them are alumni as well which makes parental involvement very common in the workings of the school I still keep in touch with people I went to the with. We all become so close it is hard not to.
I think the broader community is fantastic. Certainly as an alumnus there are ways to remain connected through alumni tournaments and fundraising banquets, as well as attending shows and matches throughout the year. It is difficult for all parents to remain involved, but they are certainly welcome to attend sport games and choir performances. These are important times that students can catch up with parents. The alumni tournaments play a good role in keeping sports teams sharp by playing older competition, but also at reuniting people who haven't seen each other for extended periods. I still keep up with lots of friends from the school. Fellow graduates and classmates made up a good proportion of my roommates throughout college. I still look forward to the tournaments every year.
The alumni community is super supportive and generous for the school. Once you leave RJC, you aren't just 'done' - lots of alumni come back to support the school and the community lives on after you graduate. I especially love alumni sports tournaments and choirs, where you come back and meet up with old classmates and have a weekend of fun again. Even if you don't talk all the time with your whole class or people you went to school with, when reunited you can pick up where you left off easily because that's the type of people RJC creates. The fundraisers always draw a big crowd (like Guy's & Pies, or the year-end musicals) of support for all those that RJC has influenced. RJC becomes a part of your identity.
At RJC, parents are not welcome to become part of the broader school community - they are part, by default! The long history and grand traditions of the school, immortalized by the active alumni, ensure that new parents are made to feel more than welcome and are drawn in spontaneously. Due to the fact that many students come from far away, even abroad, many parents are not able to be as involved as they would want to be, but the school keeps them drawn in with continuous and personal communication. As mentioned before, the school operates much more like an extended family, than just an educational institution. Even though our children are done with their schooling at RJC, we will always remain a part of RJC and will always be grateful for the incredible experiences our children had and for our privilege to have been made important partners in that!
The community after leaving rjc is just as great as the community is while at rjc. A number of my good friends I have currently are still my friends from while at rjc. The school also does a wonderful job of keeping alumni involved and of forming relationships between the alumni and the current student body. Twice a year the school hosts an alumni turnement where alumni can form a team and come back to the school to compete against other alumni as well as against the current team from the student body. While parents are not normally at the school doing things with there kids they are very well informed of the happenings and are invited to join their kids on the schools service trips.
I have kept in touch with a few of my friends from RJC, and I have seen many of my former classmates succeeding around the world. Parents were always encouraged to come to school events, there was choir concerts four times a year for parents to come watch, and the parents were all involved in graduation. The community is always welcomed into the school. We had chapel everyday and often would have community members or alumni come in and talk to us about various topics. Four times in the year we get into teams and go around the community. We do fun games, that are also volunteering that helps the community. You get to know people in the community and they get to know you. You end up feeling like Rosthern is home, and you feel safe.
A tradition of RJC is the opening program two weeks into the school year. We are amazed to see the number of people who attend this event each year. There are parents, siblings and grandparents as expected, and there are many alumni, friends and supporters in attendance. Included in the opening year program, parents of one or two current students are asked to share about the positive impact the school is having on their own children, and to offer encouragement for the student body as they begin a new school year. The school holds many events during the year where all constituents are invited to participate. We have enjoyed meeting and getting to know other parents while watching soccer games, partaking in refreshments after the Christmas and Spring concerts, and while planning the after graduation fireside activities. As a parent who didn't attend, but married an alumnus of RJC, I have been impressed with the number of the friendships my spouse maintains with his classmates 30 plus years later. They have become my friends as well.
RJC sends out weekly emails with photos and school updates which is great. The teachers and staff take a lot of photos and share them so you don't feel like you're missing out on your kids' activities. Fortunately, we lived close enough that we could attend extracurricular events. Through that, we have made lifelong friends with other parents at games, musicals, etc. Sometimes, parents have the opportunity to go on ALSO (Alternative Learning and Service Opportunities) trips too. Grad was also a way for parents to come together and plan Fireside, the all-nighter dry after grad party. Parents also offer a fun song/skit or presentation at the Grad Coffee House which pulls parents together. RJC becomes a community not just for the student but parents too!